During our usual scroll through the gram, we came across Hope Macaulay’s namesake exciting and bold luxury womenswear brand. We couldn’t help but notice the use of bold expressive colours, prints, and patterns by the young emerging Northern Irish designer. Hope a recent fashion graduate, makes her own embellishments, inspired by her passion for ceramic making, using Fimo clay and various fabrics and beads combined together. Hope’s graduate collection, A Surreal Rome, featured at Graduate Fashion Week in London, is not a representation of reality but a world in which you may find in your dreams, inspired by the history, myths and art of Rome.
Being from Ireland you do you find that you need to be in London for your brand to grow?
London is only an hour on the plane from Belfast and I am back and forward regularly. When opportunities arise, I travel to London and make the most of my time there. Hopefully one day my brand can grow and move to London, but for now it is definitely not impossible to start my brand in Ireland. I live on the North Atlantic Coast of Ireland, which is a beautiful place to find inspiration and creativity!
Also by having an online presence, such as my website, Facebook and Instagram page, it allows people access to my brand all over the world. People from across the globe are able to get in contact with me, engage and see my designs. I especially think Instagram has been the best tool to grow and spread brand awareness. I have already been invited to showcase my collection in Canada and the USA.
You seem like you’ve always been creative, you developed a talent for making ceramic sculptures from a younger age. Why did you feel it was necessary to study Fashion at degree level?
I have always wanted to work in fashion, but I was not sure which path to take. When I did an Art & Design foundation course, that is when I decided that I definitely wanted to study fashion textiles at degree level.
All of my ceramic sculptures that I created when I was younger were inspired by fashion, such as shoes and fashion accessories, which are now displayed around my family home! I still use ceramic elements in my work, such as the Fimo face embellishments on my Mythical Beings Knitted Coat from my graduate collection.
I definitely want to keep creating ceramics, whether they be in my collections or just as a hobby. Ceramic making has always been something I really loved – the fact you can create a beautiful sculpture from a bag of clay is so amazing to me. I can imagine myself being a little old retired woman and going to ceramic classes just for fun! When I was younger I always said I wanted to be a fashion designer, without really thinking about it – just like you do when you’re a child! Turns out I actually did want to be a fashion designer because now I am one!
What did you learn from your experience at Gareth Pugh and Roberta Einer that you don’t think you would have learnt had you not done those two internships?
I learned so much from my internships at Gareth Pugh and Roberta Einer. At Gareth Pugh, which was my first internship, I learnt a lot about the technical side of things such as pattern cutting and sewing. I was not strong in this area but I definitely gained so much skill from this experience, which helped me in the future to create my graduate collection. At Roberta Einer, I did a bit of everything! I got to see how a fashion business is run, which was important to me because I always knew I wanted my own business. Also at Roberta Einer, I found my hidden talent of beading! I beaded a lot of the little bugs that were on her AW18 shoes and gloves. I loved it so much that I did a lot of beading in my graduate collection. Beading takes quite a bit of time but the outcome is always so special and worth it. I used to never pay much attention to detail, but beading forced me to, so I am very happy that I gained this skill.
If it wasn’t for my internships, I would have probably struggled a lot more in my final year at University when creating my graduate collection, so I am very grateful that I got the chance to work with these fashion designers who I look up to.
When you are making a collection are you worried about how people are going to receive it and if so how do you overcome your doubts if any knowing that you can’t please everyone?
To be honest, that was never a worry for me when creating my graduate collection. Of course, I wanted people to like it, but I feel like if I did care too much about what other people wanted and not what I wanted, then my collection wouldn’t be authentic enough for me. What makes my graduate collection successful to me is that I was free to be as creative as possible. I was able to express who I am as a designer.
After going through the whole process with my graduate collection, I think that now and, in the future, when creating collections, I might be more conscious of what people think, as there is always this pressure for fashion designers for their next collection to be better. So hopefully I will continue to grow each year by learning from others and enjoying myself along the way.
Is the dream to build the Hope Macaulay brand or one day work for a well-known fashion house?
My dream is to build the Hope Macaulay brand, which is what I am currently working on right now! I have lots of exciting things happening so stay tuned!
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